Best Stuff Sacks and Dry Bags

By Amiee Maxwell | Permalink | 3 comments | February 4th, 2011

Whether you’re on a river trip or a round-the-world trip, having a few stuff sacks and dry bags in your pack will prove invaluable. They’re great for organizing your gear, saving space, and keeping your goods dry. Plus stuff sacks are perfect for keeping your dirty and wet clothing away from your clean stuff. Muddy shoes, no problem – just toss them in a separate sack.

During backpacking trips, I usually pack all my goods in multiple stuff sacks. I have a compression sack for my sleeping bag, a small stuff sack for food, another for my clothes, and yet another for my toiletries and other random goods.

Stuff sacks and dry bags come in all different sizes, materials, and colors. Some bags are totally waterproof, others are ridiculously ultralight, and some compress your gear down to nothing. If you’re more of a suitcase traveler and worried about wrinkles and such, packing cubes and packing folders might be a better option for you.

Best Stuff Sacks

Stuff sacks can be either compression sacks or regular old stuff sacks. Compression sacks, like the REI Lightweight Compression Sacks, have compression straps that you cinch down once the bag is packed. The straps compress all the air out of the bag packing your gear down to a little ball.

Regular ole stuff sacks, like the Outdoor Products Ditty Sacks, are essentially little sacks with a cordlock closure. You just toss in your stuff and cinch the cord and you’re good to go. Compression sacks are great if you’re short on space and regular stuff sacks are a good option if you want easy access to your gear.

Best Stuff Sacks

Best Dry Bags

Dry bags are designed with waterproof materials and special roll-top closures that seal tight and keep water out. Dry bags are usually more expensive than stuff sacks, but they are more durable and technical. The quality of dry bags vary significantly, some can handle being totally submerged while others are only meant to protect from splashes or rain.

The Sea to Summit eVent Compression Sack combines the compactness of a compression sack with the waterproof super powers of a dry sack. This compression sack combo dry bag will be ready for whatever adventures you toss at it.

Best Dry Bags

[Photo courtesy of mil8]

What’s your favorite packing sack?


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  • Luciano Says:

    Last year i bought an Aquaknot 1200 waterproof backpack (seattlesportsco) ( in July). It was a very good drysack for 6 months but now it has a problem near the logo. In the lower end of logo water comes in. I use the drysack in different conditions no problems till now. I belive the problem depends to the exessive deep track along the border of logo. The lowest end of logo creates the problem.
    I wrote to for a possible replacement but the response was negative.

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